Despite once declaring that active 3D was the only 3D system worth pursuing, Panasonic has now taken to passive 3D technology like the proverbial duck to water. The Panasonic L42DT65 is a fun, engaging 3D performer, serving up a good sense of 3D space and benefitting from passive 3D’s freedom from crosstalk ghosting and flickering to deliver a very relaxing experience.
You don’t get quite the same sense of detail you get from a top-grade active 3D set, and there’s trace evidence of jagged edges around curved objects. Also 3D is less effective/immersive on this 42-inch screen than it tends to be on bigger screens that fill more of your field of vision.
Still, overall the L42DT65’s 3D advantages comfortably outweigh the negatives.
The L42DT65’s audio array doesn’t deliver enough bass meat to register as one of the best-sounding LCD TVs in town. That said, it does work quite nicely within its limitations, delivering a quite open mid-range, well-rounded and clear vocals, and more harshness-free detailing than you commonly hear.
With gaming set to become an ever greater part of a typical household’s TV use once the next generation of consoles arrive, it’s pleasing to find the L42DT65 measuring a very respectably low 33ms of input lag – so long as you’ve taken care to engage the Game mode in the Options picture menu, and have turned off as many picture processing tools as you can find.
One other point worth mentioning is the fact that Panasonic includes two remote controls with the L42DT65: a standard one and a smaller one with a touchpad at its top end.
Including a touch pad remote is a good idea in principle in these days of ever-more complex onscreen menus and on-TV web browsing. However, Panasonic’s effort is hamstrung by the way the circular touchpad feels too small and doesn’t always react to your finger movements consistently.
We’re not sure either about the wisdom of using a circular touchpad when the screen you’re working with is rectangular!
Our answer here has to be a polite but firm no. Even if you’re not the sort of person who likes to watch films in dark rooms from time to time you’re likely to feel the impact of the Panasonic L42DT65’s numerous contrast problems at some point – and actually quite regularly, we’ll warrant.
This is a pretty unfortunate state of affairs on a 42-inch TV costing £1100, and it’s joined on the ‘problem list’ by a shortage of key video streaming services versus some of the rival TV players.
Panasonic’s ongoing problems with delivering a convincing contrast performance on its high-end TVs have blighted yet another model that could otherwise have been a corker. Fingers crossed the brand can sort things out for 2014 – especially as it will no longer have its consistently brilliant plasma sets to fall back on by then.
Next, see our picks of the 10 best cheap TVs you can buy